Are you an adoptive parent struggling with the transition of assimilating a new family member?
Is your adopted child acting out, negatively seeking attention or withdrawing?
Have you encountered difficulties forming a secure attachment with your adopted child, especially if he or she is older, came from a foster care situation, and/or another country and culture?
Do you feel weighed down by emotional, financial or logistical stress and wish you had more support navigating unfamiliar challenges?
The anticipation and stress surrounding adoption can be physically and emotionally taxing. The quest to start or expand your family is often described as a roller-coaster, characterized by peaks of hope and anticipation as well as disheartening setbacks and delays. Many parents expect that once the adoption is finalized, they can finally relax and enjoy time with their new family member, but the challenges of adoption often persist beyond the paperwork and red tape.
Despite your excitement and preparations, you, your family members, and/or your adoptive child may struggle with the adoption transition. Post-adoption issues are common, but are certainly manageable with the guidance and support of adoption counseling.
All adoptive families experience challenges.
While some experts assert that the outlook for adopted children is comparable to that of non-adopted children, others suggest that adopted children are more vulnerable to emotional instability. It’s true that adopted children have often experienced the loss of one or more family members and must cope with grief alongside potential feelings of isolation, identity issues and anger. Adopted children may also have trouble bonding with adoptive parents, perhaps due to past abandonment but also because of the complex biochemical and time-sensitive processes involved in human attachment.
The family system may also waver in the wake of adoption. Jealousy and sibling conflict can escalate with the addition of an adopted child. You and your partner, exhausted and overwhelmed, may experience increased arguments and disconnection. Almost all families need extra support, and because adoption poses additional, unique challenges, post-adoption counseling can be especially effective for adoptive families.
Adoption counseling can help you build attachment and family connection.
In adoption counseling sessions, you identify and explore the issues that are causing disconnection. We will provide you with community resources and education about the issues that commonly arise during different stages of life within adoptive families.
We will help you match your expectations and efforts with your adoptive child’s needs, in the context of the entire family system. Through counseling, you can learn how to build stronger attachments, address changes in the roles of family members, and figure out ways for everyone to define their new roles. Your child or children can learn that everyone has an individual identity, and part of that identity exists within your family. With effective communication and parenting strategies in place, you can ensure that each member of your family feels valued and loved.
With guidance, resources, and support, it is possible for your family to adjust to the new challenges and thrive. As you build stronger attachments and allow complex thoughts, feelings and experiences to be voiced, everyone can begin to feel like a valuable part of a greater whole.
But, you still may have questions or concerns about adoption counseling...
Our adopted child seemed fine until recently. Could this just be a phase?
A trained therapist at Cartersville Counseling & Therapy can help you to determine if what your child is experiencing is an adoption issue, a normal developmental issue, or a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. If the issues that are causing you concern are ongoing, it’s best to be proactive and seek help – especially if you don’t know much about your child’s past history. It may be that your child’s experience is normal, but it may not be. Intervening early and seeking guidance can provide you with answers, support, and a sense of relief.
I think our new child is dealing with complex trauma. I’m not sure that I made the right decision for this child or my family.
In adoption counseling sessions, we can talk about what is going on in your home right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and questioning your decision, we can discuss what’s triggering feelings of self-doubt. Your therapist can help you develop effective ways to cope with stress and work through difficult feelings. Furthermore, if your child’s behavioral and emotional problems have become an ongoing concern, we can give your child an assessment, come up with an appropriate treatment strategy and decide how to proceed. We offer support and help. You do not have to navigate this challenging time on your own.